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May 2014 in Photos

June 16, 2014

Photos this month are from a visit to the Raleigh-Durham area. I loved the lushness of North Carolina.  1) Art as shelter. This work was in the sculpture park at the North Carolina Museum of Art  2) My friend cooling off in the Eno Quarry  3) The short hike to the Eno Quarry  4) A garage in Durham. I like how imperfect it is.

Remembering Yuri Kochiyama

June 14, 2014
yuri-melissa-2002

Visiting Yuri, 2002

I met Yuri in 2002 while writing a lengthy profile of her for a local newspaper. Yuri was 80 then, but full of energy. I was amazed. She went to meetings, protests, and marches in her walker. In fact, she seemed disappointed when an event we showed up at turned out to be a press conference, not a march.

When someone asked her what the point of marching was, Yuri replied, “I think it’s very important. If they did not have all those years of marching and demonstrations, they never would have gotten the Civil Rights Act of 1964. … I like it because it’s a people’s thing. It’s not an individual thing. It’s all the things that people do together that gives you strength.”

This last point applied not only to marching, but served as Yuri’s most basic credo.

Yuri made time for everyone. She drew people together. She rarely spoke about herself. Instead, she was genuinely interested in what other people were doing and often you would find yourself on the receiving end of Yuri’s questions.

I feel blessed to have spent time with Yuri. I have been doing social justice work in my own way, through journalism, the arts, and youth development. Sometimes I find it difficult to keep going — I feel simultaneously burnt out and that I’m not doing enough. But I remember Yuri’s example.

I wrote of Yuri in the profile, “To be a Movement person is to live a life of losses, yet still retain hope. And Yuri never lets go of hope.” This has stayed with me over the years, a prescription for life.

She modeled how to live a life of social justice with generosity and tremendous spirit. For that, I am thankful.

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Originally published at Hyphen here. See more reflections from the Hyphen staff here and more reflections on Yuri at the Tumblr Because of Yuri.

 

April 2014 in Photos

May 5, 2014

Most of my photos this month are from a weekend trip to Southern California.  1) A tasty Vietnamese meal one night in San Gabriel Valley (banh cuon, a rice noodle roll)  2) This feels very Southern Californian to me: the covered car, the palm trees, the house.  3) Visiting Huntington Gardens. Too vast to take it all in during one visit, but my favorite garden on this trip was the desert garden.  4) Back in San Francisco, playing tourist for the day by taking a friend in town to the camera obsura. Doesn’t it look like it belongs in a Wes Anderson film?

March 2014 in Photos

April 13, 2014

1) Taking a snack break at Vik’s Chaat Corner in Berkeley.  2) March, to me, is about CAAMfest. This year I was honored to be one of three people serving on the narrative films jury.  3) Being in Boston for a conference meant that a stop into Dunkin’ Donuts was a must. We have none in San Francisco.  4) The flight back west. Exhausted by two packed days (especially being on the East Coast on a West Coast clock) but grateful to meet so many people working to improve the lives of youth at the National Summit on Creative Youth Development.

February 2014 in Photos

March 5, 2014

1)  Shadows on the street. 2) Spring comes early to San Francisco.  3) A wall in Temescal, Oakland.  4) Kitchen fail.

 

January 2014 in Photos

February 22, 2014

Belated January photo diary. 1) Started off 2014 by saying goodbye to Cafe Du Nord, such a great little music venue. My friend Goh Nakamura played on its second to last night.  2) Stuck on a Muni train, a frequent occurrence.  3) One of my favorite ways to treat myself on a Thursday is to go to the Ferry Building where they have food stalls set up outside and to get the BBQ Chicken Sando from Namu.  4) Trying out the new (to me) vintage egg cooker for the first time to poach eggs. Eggs benedict brunch a success!

December 2013 in Photos

January 4, 2014

1) Visiting Texas, where the waffles are Texas-shaped. Of course.  2) My sister, the bride.  3) Home sick with a cold for 5 days, I drank hot water with lemon and honey in my Hyphen mug. As you can see, I am fond of white ceramic objects.  4) Surfacing from Embarcadero station one typical San Francisco December morning.

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